copy the linklink copied!Japan

copy the linklink copied!Tourism in the economy

In 2017, tourism GDP accounted for 2.0% of total GDP and 9.6% of total employment, or 6.5 million employees. Recent growth in tourism to Japan has been very significant with international arrivals rising from 28.7 million in 2017 to 31.2 million in 2018, up 8.7%, and another record high for the sixth consecutive year. Revenues from international tourists rose 18% from JPY 3.8 trillion to JPY 4.5 trillion between 2016 and 2018. Travel exports accounted for 21.8% of total service exports in 2018.

To put this growth into perspective, there were 6.2 million international arrivals in 2011 and this five-fold increase in visitor numbers makes Japan one of the fastest growing inbound tourism economies in the OECD. This performance also extends to individual markets where highs were also recorded in 19 of the 20 principal inbound markets, the only exception being visits from Hong Kong.

Domestic tourism by Japanese citizens is also of major economic importance with residents taking 561.8 million trips, down 13.2% over 2017, spending JPY 20.5 trillion in 2018 – representing some 80% of total revenues from tourism. This was a decrease of 3.0% compared with the previous year due to the incidence of typhoons and other natural disasters.

copy the linklink copied!Tourism governance and funding

Established in 2008 as an external body of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the Japan Tourism Agency takes a leading role in tourism policy and its coordination, representing the Government on issues relating to tourism and the promotion of Japan as a tourist destination. The Agency is in charge of executing the Visit Japan campaign and other marketing activities.

A Ministerial Council for the Promotion of Japan as a Tourism-Oriented Country attended by all ministers was established in 2013 to unify government efforts on tourism. A cross-ministerial budget has enabled numerous projects to be delivered and this budget has been maintained, and now includes a subsidy to support historic landscapes. The private sector is invited to regular “Tourism Strategy Promotion Council” meetings (with Cabinet Ministers in attendance) as experts in the field to give their opinion on relevant topics.

Local government’s role is to improve the attractiveness of local destinations. The national government offers support to boost regional initiatives by providing statistical data, initiating area-wide co-operation and supporting regional development.

The Japan Tourism Agency’s budget for 2019 is JPY 71.1 billion. The budget is 2.8 times more than the 2017 budget of JPY 25.6 billion, due to the inclusion of a contribution of JPY 48.5 billion as a result of a new international tourist tax established in January 2019 after a planning and consultation period of 18 months.

The budget is broken down as follows:

  • JPY 27.9 billion allocated to creating an environment that is stress-free and suitable for travellers including improved border procedures and higher quality public transport.

  • JPY 14.9 billion towards easier access to information emphasising the appeal of travelling in Japan and strengthening tourism and other related industries.

  • JPY 22.4 billion towards improving quality of visitor experience and welcome in regional areas by maintaining local cultural and natural tourism resources.

  • JPY 4.5 billion to help revitalise the Tohoku region.

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Japan: Organisational chart of tourism bodies
Japan: Organisational chart of tourism bodies

Source: OECD, adapted from the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, 2020

copy the linklink copied!Tourism policies and programmes

While Japan’s proximity to Asian tourism markets is undoubtedly a factor in its recent growth, the Government has also been instrumental in supporting the sector. Proactive policy measures have included easing visa requirements, enabling tax free shopping, enhancing infrastructure and improving visitor services. Japan also introduced the Private Lodging Business Act in 2018, requiring anyone operating a peer-to-peer accommodation rental business must notify the prefectural governor and register their interest (Box 1.17). Tourism contributes to the country’s economic and structural challenges, aids the regeneration of local areas and is an important means to revitalise areas struck by natural disasters. Some of the current challenges faced by Japan include the development of internationally competitive destinations which have a critical mass of quality visitor attractions; putting in place training and skills frameworks to enable more appropriately qualified staff to sustain a high quality industry; and strengthening marketing and promotional mechanisms for greater effectiveness. The 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo present a further opportunity for international profiling. A further structural challenge is Japan’s declining and ageing population.

Another principal concern is encouraging tourism development that is both inclusive and sustainable given recent growth trends. While Japan has not yet experienced the ‘problems of success’ that have affected other high profile global destinations, it has nevertheless recognised the need for focussed and sustainable policies and related measures to effectively develop and manage a dynamic sector.

All regional and local governments have recognised these issues alongside the Government which in 2016 developed a long term strategy to 2030. The New Tourism Strategy to Invigorate the Japanese Economy is complemented by a medium term plan entitled the Tourism Nation Promotion Basic Plan which sets out a comprehensive and agreed set of measures to be taken by ministries across government from 2017. Collectively these documents represent the agreed tourism policies and measures to be delivered by the Government and its agencies. The Government reviews all regulations for their impact on tourism and accommodates any changes as necessary, setting and adapting goals with reference to UNWTO forecasts and other experts to shape and modify the plans as necessary.

Partnership with the private sector is considered vital with regular dialogue with business groups such as the Japan Travel and Tourism Association. The Government is promoting the establishment and development of these private sector-led DMOs (including with subsidies for staff costs, training) in order to develop local tourism policies, after the establishment of the Japanese version of DMO registration system in 2015. DMOs play an increasingly central role in tourism related regional development in collaboration with local government.

In October 2019, reflecting the importance of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the JTA hosted the G20 Tourism Ministers’ Meeting in Hokkaido, with the theme of maximising tourism’s contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The Government of Japan has established the Sustainable Tourism Promotion Headquarters that deals with the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. In 2019, Towards the Advancement of Sustainable Tourism was published; this comprehensive approach to the development of the sector also defines the nature and scope of future initiatives. These include co-operation between local governments and the Japan Tourism Agency at major tourist destinations, such as Kyoto, to develop measures to control overcrowding and related social impacts. The Agency will promote sustainable tourism by developing a more widespread use of its Sustainable Tourism Index based on international standards and encouraging local government and DMOs to manage destinations using the Index to gain a fuller understanding of what is a complex and dynamic sector.

copy the linklink copied!Statistical Profile

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Japan: Domestic, inbound and outbound tourism

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

TOURISM FLOWS, THOUSAND

Domestic tourism1

Total domestic trips

595 221

604 715

641 079

647 510

561 779

Overnight visitors (tourists)

297 343

312 985

325 658

323 328

291 052

Same-day visitors (excursionists)

297 878

291 730

315 421

324 182

270 727

Nights in all types of accommodation

428 677

438 464

423 096

429 906

443 726

Hotels and similar establishments

419 998

430 108

414 939

421 781

435 959

Other collective establishments

8 679

8 356

8 157

8 126

7 767

Private accommodation

..

..

..

..

..

Inbound tourism2

Total international arrivals

13 413

19 737

24 040

28 691

31 192

Overnight visitors (tourists)

..

..

..

..

..

Same-day visitors (excursionists)

..

..

..

..

..

Top markets

China

2 409

4 994

6 374

7 356

8 380

Korea

2 755

4 002

5 090

7 140

7 539

Chinese Taipei

2 830

3 677

4 168

4 564

4 757

Hong Kong, China

926

1 524

1 839

2 232

2 208

United States

892

1 033

1 243

1 375

1 526

Nights in all types of accommodation

44 825

65 615

69 389

79 691

94 275

Hotels and similar establishments

44 705

65 285

69 159

79 401

93 892

Other collective establishments

119

330

230

289

383

Private accommodation

..

..

..

..

..

Outbound tourism

Total international departures

16 903

16 214

17 116

17 889

18 954

Overnight visitors (tourists)

..

..

..

..

..

Same-day visitors (excursionists)

..

..

..

..

..

Top destinations

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

..

TOURISM RECEIPTS AND EXPENDITURE, MILLION JPY

Inbound tourism

Total international receipts

2 206 705

3 304 571

3 631 816

4 146 454

4 999 528

International travel receipts

1 997 479

3 023 970

3 337 661

3 819 713

4 648 360

International passenger transport receipts

209 226

280 601

294 156

326 741

351 168

Outbound tourism

Total international expenditure

3 023 332

2 814 762

2 812 638

2 890 814

3 104 527

International travel expenditure

2 041 869

1 933 762

2 011 010

2 040 138

2 232 293

International passenger transport expenditure

981 463

881 000

801 628

850 677

872 234

.. Not available

1. Trips from demand side surveys; Nights from supply side surveys.

2. Arrivals from demand side surveys; Nights from supply side surveys.

Source: OECD Tourism Statistics (Database).

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888934077198

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Japan: Enterprises and employment in tourism

Number of establishments1

Number of persons employed

2014

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Total

842 359

..

..

..

..

..

Tourism industries

842 359

6 431 130

6 346 990

6 440 900

6 483 850

..

Accommodation services for visitors

..

..

..

..

..

..

Hotels and similar establishments

52 387

623 250

581 020

579 830

610 560

..

Food and beverage serving industry

619 711

3 443 750

3 464 980

3 521 170

3 505 440

..

Passenger transport

36 811

1 045 760

975 980

966 490

973 690

..

Air passenger transport

897

46 980

46 910

47 050

46 780

..

Railways passenger transport

5 054

305 890

260 600

284 250

272 040

..

Road passenger transport

25 204

622 430

598 100

564 610

584 710

..

Water passenger transport

5 656

70 460

70 370

70 580

70 160

..

Passenger transport supporting services

71 424

598 950

633 290

646 940

654 870

..

Transport equipment rental

..

..

..

..

..

..

Travel agencies and other reservation services industry

..

..

..

..

..

..

Cultural industry

..

..

..

..

..

..

Sports and recreation industry

62 026

719 420

691 720

726 470

739 290

..

Retail trade of country-specific tourism characteristic goods

..

..

..

..

..

..

Other country-specific tourism industries

..

..

..

..

..

..

Other industries

4 847 007

59 502 870

59 873 010

60 411 100

61 017 150

..

.. Not available

1. Data refer to number of enterprises.

Source: OECD Tourism Statistics (Database).

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888934077217

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Japan: Internal tourism consumption
Million JPY

2017

Domestic tourism expenditure

Inbound tourism expenditure

Internal tourism consumption

Total

..

..

..

Consumption products

22 519 868

4 146 454

27 117 447

Tourism characteristic products

13 855 753

2 705 868

17 012 746

Accommodation services for visitors

3 714 472

1 076 939

5 242 536

Food and beverage serving services

2 748 162

766 037

3 514 198

Passenger transport services

5 677 561

131 293

6 382 513

Air passenger transport services

2 145 451

34 545

2 490 900

Railways passenger transport services

2 829 756

29 195

3 121 706

Road passenger transport services

590 561

60 715

651 276

Water passenger transport services

111 793

6 838

118 631

Passenger transport supporting services

..

..

..

Transport equipment rental services

301 844

43 027

344 871

Travel agencies and other reservation services industry

449 165

22 462

471 627

Cultural services

327 185

35 371

362 556

Sports and recreation services

637 363

57 081

694 444

Country-specific tourism characteristic goods

..

..

..

Country-specific tourism characteristic services

..

..

..

Other consumption products

8 664 115

1 440 586

10 104 700

Tourism connected products

8 092 770

1 418 344

9 511 114

Non-tourism related consumption products

571 345

22 242

593 587

Non-consumption products

..

..

..

.. Not available

Source: OECD Tourism Statistics (Database).

 StatLink http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/888934077236

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